In the Suburbs: Follow the law and skip the fireworks

Connecticut State Police detective Jose Colon holds firecrackers of a type that is illegal in Connecticut at a news conference in Middletown, Conn., Tuesday, June 29, 2004.

Connecticut State Police detective Jose Colon holds firecrackers of a type that is illegal in Connecticut at a news conference in Middletown, Conn., Tuesday, June 29, 2004.

Peter Hvizdak / Peter Hvizdak /NH Register

I thought this problem was only mine. Being subjected to popping, crackling, sounding almost like gun shots or explosions weeks before the Fourth of July, has become a common happening, I’ve learned throughout Fairfield County and across the tri-state area. Perhaps it’s the blanket cancellations of fireworks displays throughout the area. Or maybe thrill seekers are just feeling the need to push that thrill to the limit, no matter how neighbors and their pets feel. But frankly, I’ve had enough.

Happily, so has our first selectwoman, Brenda Kupchick. She was interviewed on WICC’s “Melissa in the Morning” on WICC a couple of weeks ago. When Melissa expressed concern about the nights of illegal fireworks in towns like hers, Brenda said she was definitely going to do something about it.

At this point, without statistics from the Fairfield police, I don’t know how many arrests have been made since the First Selectwoman’s assurance that she intends to curb these illegal fireworks. But I still hear complaints from former neighbors and friends that their late evenings or sleep have been disrupted and their dogs are freaking out and running for the basement or under the bed.

Hearing those complaints brought back memories of our last neighborhood on Brooklawn Avenue. We had a neighbor on the Bridgeport side who loved to go all out, especially for the Fourth of July. As I recall, the fireworks usually started days before the holiday and the noise reverberated throughout the neighborhood.

Our two dogs at the time went berserk and I had all I could do to hang on to our bigger Jack Russell Patches. Our little Jack Russell Sadie jumped out of my wife’s arms and ran like crazy up Algonquin Road toward the Country Club. I ran after her, but the street was dark and Sadie had a head start. The noise continued and I thought Sadie was gone for good. Nearly a half hour passed and we had given up. Just as we were going to walk into our house, we heard Sadie’s familiar bark and all of a sudden, she appeared. But even inside the house, both dogs continued to bark and ran back and forth from the living room to the back end of the house.

When I called the Bridgeport Police to complain, the dispatcher said it was busy before the Fourth of July and they didn’t think they could do much about the problem. I learned over the next couple of days that our neighbor may have been a retired police officer and there probably wouldn’t be any changes anyway.

But the real icing on this cake was the night of the Fourth, when our neighbor footnoted the fireworks displays in Bridgeport and Fairfield by holding his own display. Again, when we walked out the front door, we saw a line of cars from Acadia Avenue down to the stoplight at Hughes Avenue. People were in or out of their cars, talking, laughing and drinking beer. The pattern continued for nearly all 14 years we lived in that house.

We have since moved to north Bridgeport and to Stratford two years ago to downsize, but this is the first year that the noise from the home-grown fireworks has really gotten unbearable. We lost Sadie about three years ago and, thankfully, Patches’ hearing isn’t like the old days. But there have been some loud booms and our 16-year old companion has been startled.

And the fireworks, especially the firecrackers, have been an every-night happening for the past three weeks. My wife and I aren’t seeing any let up. But we’re pretty sure the police are getting plenty of complaints and we can only hope they are doing something about these illegal fireworks. So far, it’s still noisy.

I love fireworks as much as the next person. Over the years when our kids were growing up, we often trudged to Fairfield Beach on the Fourth or an evening before the Fourth to watch the display. But this pandemic has taken large gatherings away from our towns and canceled fireworks displays. I know how difficult that is for families.

But that situation is no reason to start building up to the holiday with illegal and dangerous fireworks. I just heard about a little girl in New York whose arm was injured by someone recklessly setting off a firecracker that came through a window in her apartment.

I can only hope that our Fairfield residents will respect the safety of their neighbors on this Fourth of July Saturday by following the law and not setting off fireworks carelessly, especially at picnics or barbecues. Happy Fourth of July to all of Fairfield.

Steven Gaynes is a Fairfield writer, and his “In the Suburbs” appears on Friday. He can be reached at